The closing of the 22nd annual Keels and Wheels Concoursd’Elegance is just now behind us…5 days of celebrating friends, socializing, and enjoying our boats!  Bob Fuller, Paul Merryman, Dave Person, and Laura Power really know how to put on a show!

Keels and Wheels 2017   by Craig Stanfield

Many of us started with what is now a 5-day event on Thursday with an Early Bird Cruise, followed by a catered party at a private home nearby.  About ten ‘Early Birds’, divided among several boats, and headed to a happy hour (with required floating docks due to a strong Nor Easter that blew thru the night before) at ‘Out Riggers’ under the Kemah bridge. Mid-afternoon, Southwest Chapter members (and Gar Wood owners) Dave Parker and Belinda hosted a catered Mexican Dinner at their waterfront home on nearby Taylor Lake. Folks in excess of 50 were in attendance from both coasts, and places in between.  Most stayed to clap for the setting of the sun over their pool and dock. 

By Friday morning, a couple dozen of the close to seventy-five boats were docked.  The rest of Friday found the balance of boats smoothly coming in, being launched and placed, and their owners participating in the ever important reuniting of old friends.  The launch crew was staffed by the WBA of North Texas headed up by Scott Reichardt.  The placement crew was overseen by Bill Nalle and Ed Ueckert.  Friday night, some found themselves at the Yachta,Yachta,Yachta party aboard docked megayachts at the host Lakewood Yacht Club.  Others divided into small groups for quieter venues.  Many of the volunteers migrated, tired and dirty, to a nearby seafood restaurant. 

Saturday brought Terry Feist and his judging agenda to the breakfast buffet at the Lakewood YC clubhouse.  This was followed by a quick chamois and the judging.  As awards would be given out by SW Chapter President Brian Fielder poolside at 3:30, all judging needed to be finished by noon.  The weather cooperated magnificently, and by the closing of the gates, we had all gone to shower for our evening events.  Most went to the sold out Banquet on the yacht club grounds, a Luau-themed event. 

Sunday was another Tourist Bureau day….sunny and mild!  After a second quick chamois and check of the bilge, the rest of the day was spent ‘reconnecting’ with old friends and enjoying the hospitality tent managed by Lisa Robinson.

John Platou and Di Johnson managed the ‘Kids Build a Boat’ and ‘Kids build an Outboard’.  This program both entertained youth with hands-on experience and provided 2 boats to be given to participants using a lottery method of choosing.  We hope we’re farming for future members!  Probably a hundred youth participated over the 2 days that the gates were open. 

In the afternoon, our chapter had their meeting.  Haulouts began at 4pm.  The retrieval of boats was managed by chapter volunteers and the local Sea Scouts.  Sunday night, a large group met for dinner and to say our goodbyes.  Monday morning would see us driving back to our homes. 

Serenella Water Taxi heading to ramp with assistance of Sea Scout Chris Robinson

The boats?  Rivas, Classic Glass, Centurys galore, Higgins, triples, outboards, Donzis, Shepherds, Chris Crafts, Lymans, Holmes, an Elco, a Bertram…you name it!   Like wine, this show is getting better and better! 

And then there were the cars!!!   


Thank you, Craig Stanfield, for the report and the great collection of pictures.  Keels & Wheels is held annually in Seabrook, TX the first weekend in May. The money raised at this event supports the Boys and Girls Harbor and other charities in the Houston area. 

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